Growing up, my absolute favourite thing in life was soup. Soup, stew, chili, you name it – if it was a bunch of warm, lovely ingredients in a bowl, I was soup-er into it… mhm. Yeah, that just happened.
My dad makes his special chili every year for my Birthday dinner and I love him for it. There just isn’t anything like a big bowl of steaming meat and veg with all of the toppings!!! Add some garlic bread and, well, I think the saying goes “you’ll be rolling me home”.
The thing I probably love most about chili is how versatile it is! Not to mention, EASY. I like to make big batches on the weekend during the Winter (so in Calgary that means approximately eight months out of the year) and my husband and I will have belly-warming food for a week, if not more. It’s a casual dish that is without fail, a crowd pleaser. Which is why I whipped some up this past weekend for some hungry boys who were watching a little thing you may have heard of… Super Bowl, anyone?
Typically, I like to use a lot of legumes and hey, from time to time I might use some beer or cider (can you handle it?!) for some great depth in flavour. This time though, I wanted to see if I could make a healthier, paleo version for our good friend Paul. It meant cutting out the legumes and beer, but a varied selection of vegetables and extra lean ground turkey made the end result just as hearty… and it might be my new favourite way to do chili! So, give it a try y’all. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
2 lbs lean ground turkey (any meat of your choice is a-ok)
2 tbsp cajun seasoning (for the turkey)
1 large white onion
4 cloves fresh garlic
2 large bell peppers
3-4 celery sticks (or one small stalk)
1 medium zucchini
1 package sliced mushrooms
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot (I put that sh**t on everything!… because it’s my husbands favourite)
1 packet mexican chili seasoning
1 cup water
In a large fry pan (I used a wok for the full 2 lbs of meat), cook the ground turkey until browned. Just before taking it off the heat and setting aside, add the cajun pepper seasoning and mix thoroughly.
In a large stock pot, sauté the garlic and onion until the onion is slightly translucent. Roughly chop and throw in all other veggies. Add the diced tomatoes, tomatoe sauce, Franks Red Hot sauce and water. Mix in the ground turkey, add the chili seasoning, leave to simmer for at least an hour and Bob’s your uncle! You have just made the greatest meal on Earth.
Like I said, chili is versatile, so add the vegetables you like the most, or don’t use vegetables if they aren’t your thing. Use beer instead of water. People, I encourage you to make the chili of your dreams… today!